When acquiring works by any high-value artist, it’s important to determine the authenticity of the work and obtain documentation. Because of their replicable nature, this is particularly crucial for Pop art works. Long-Sharp advised that “the most desirable works on paper will have a solid provenance, be authenticated by the artist’s foundation or estate, and be in the catalogue raisonné for the artist’s works on paper (if one exists).” She also explained that a work should have anecdotal information such as documented exhibition history, letters, and gallery stamps. Purchasing a work from a gallery or auction house is a sound way to ensure the authenticity of the work, as the institution is “willing to put its warranty and reputation behind it,” she said.
On the topic of a work’s condition, Long-Sharp noted that it’s really up to each individual collector to decide how important an artwork’s wear and tear is to their collection. This is particularly prudent advice when purchasing editions, where the price of any given work can vary dramatically based on its state. Richards spoke to this consideration as well, and explained that prints and multiples tend to fall into two categories—those that “have been put away or never framed, which represent a tremendous opportunity,” and those that “have been well-loved and traded a few times either privately or at auction,” which can be a value concern. She recommended getting thorough condition reports where possible.